Sunday, June 5, 2011

About the power of art

John Constable, The Hay Wain
Brain scans reveal works of art can give you as much pleasure as being in love.

I like that.

Professor Semir Zeki, chair in neuroaesthetics at University College London talks about the results of a recent study, as reported here:
What we found is when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure.
We put people in a scanner and showed them a series of paintings every ten seconds. We then measured the change in blood flow in one part of the brain.
The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked.
The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain.
Zeki’s study confirms what arts educators have always known, that beautiful images generate pleasure and a sense of well being.

That's an invitation to visit a nearby art museum or to seek out an art exhibit, or maybe just stop and smell the roses.


Professor Zeki's other musings.
What is neuroesthetics?

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